Daily Archives: August 21, 2015

2nd Test: Day 2: India bowled out for 393 in 114 overs

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Colombo, Aug 21: Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha shepherded the lower order batsmen with an unbeaten half century as India batted at a slow pace to reach to 386 for 8 at lunch on day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka here today. Shortly after the lunch-break, India were bowled out for 393.

Match Scorecard

Saha, unbeaten on 56 (114 balls; 6×4), batted sensibly without taking much risk to avoid a below-par total in the Indian first innings even as the pitch at the P Sara Oval eased out for batting.

Ishant Sharma (2 batting) was giving him company at the lunch break as India added 67 runs from 24.4 overs in the second morning of this Test. Resuming the day at 319/6, the visitors did not get off to a great start.

Saha was lucky not to be bowled off the seventh ball of the morning while on his previous day’s score of 19. Dhammika Prasad (2/84) was the unlucky bowler as the ball kissed the off-stump but did not dislodge the bail.

Six balls later, Sri Lanka did get their first wicket of the morning, with Ravichandra Ashwin (2) hitting Angelo Mathews (2/24) straight to short extra cover fielder.

Saha survived another close call in the 91st over, Prasad again being the unlucky bowler, as his loose shot did not quite carry enough to the keeper.

TV replays appeared to suggest that the umpire’s decision to give Saha a benefit of doubt to be correct. Saha had not added a single run to his overnight score then.

He finally got going on the 14th ball he faced whilst Amit Mishra (24, 50 balls, 3×4) joined him at the other end.

Mishra too was lucky to survive, without opening his account off 10 deliveries, when in the 94th over, umpire Bruce Oxenford failed to detect a faint edge to the keeper with Mathews the one to miss out on a wicket this time.

With these ‘lives’ given, it was no surprise that the batsmen decided to settle down and curb their shots, and run scoring was slow as a result.

PTI

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Ranil Wickremesinghe Sworn in as Lanka PM

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COLOMBO: Ranil Wickremesinghe was today sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister for the fourth time following his party’s victory in the parliamentary polls, as the country’s two major political parties signed a power-sharing deal to form a national unity government.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a lawyer-turned politician, has been a vocal supporter of a political solution to the country’s ethnic question and even initiated talks for a peace deal with the LTTE in 2002.

Wickremesinghe’s victory in Monday’s election thwarted a political comeback by the country’s former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, months after he lost the presidential polls to President Maithripala Sirisena.

The swearing in ceremony was held inside the premises of the Presidential Secretariat at 9:30 AM. President Sirisena administered the oath of office to 66-year-old Wickremesinghe, who has already served three times as the prime minister.

Immediately after the swearing in ceremony, the two main parties — Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) and Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) — sealed a Memorandum of Understanding which paved the way for the setting up of a national unity government.

Political rival of both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe — former President Mahinda Rajapaksa — was also present during the ceremony. Both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe shook hands with the former strongman.

Wickremesinghe became the prime minister for fourth time in his political career having previously held the post from 1993-94, 2002-2004 and since January of this year. His party won 106 seats, seven short of a majority in the 225-member parliament.

President Sirisena’s SLFP will provide numbers from his opposition group to Wickremesinghe to set up the national unity government. Sirisena, who was Rajapaksa’s Health Minister, was asked by Wickremesinghe in November last year to become the opposition common candidate.

Sirisena was promptly sacked by Rajapaksa for challenging him in the January 8 election. After Sirisena’s victory, Rajapaksa stepped down to make way for the new President to take over the party. Analysts say Sirisena and Wickremesinghe are set to face major hurdles both at the international and domestic fronts.

The UN Human Rights body is to release its report on Sri Lanka’s war crimes accountability next month. The new government will also have to tackle the tricky problem of granting devolution of powers to Tamil regions.

The Tamils, who are opposed to Rajapaksa’s Sinhala nationalist rule, had backed Sirisena in large numbers in the presidential election.

TNIE

Sri Lanka polls: what lies ahead for Sirisena and Wickremasinghe

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The election

PM Ranil Wickremasinghe’s alliance has won the polls in Sri Lanka

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s party has lost
Rajapaksa’s attempt at staging a comeback, has failed

The players

Rajapaksa remains popular among Sinhalese chauvinists. But liberal Sinhalese and minorities ensured his defeat
Wickremasinghe’s alliance is within striking distance of a majority

The real winner is President Maithripala Sirisena

His main rival within the party, Rajapaksa, is defeated. And the PM will need his help to work

Tamils want the government to do more for peace and reconciliation

The impact

India will be pleased with the result. India-Sri Lanka ties are likely to deepen. Rajapaksa was extremely pro-China
The President and PM now need to go ahead with political reforms

The Sri Lankan voters have shown their political maturity and wisdom by foiling former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s desperate bid to become the country’s prime minister.

This is for the second consecutive time in seven months that they have dealt a serious electoral blow to the erstwhile strongman’s political ambitions. The earlier occasion was the January 2015 Presidential Election in which they denied him an unprecedented third term by electing Maithripala Sirisena.

Though the victory margin for the incumbent Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe’s alliance in Monday’s election was small, the defeat of Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is significant.

Endgame for Rajapaksa?

In a sense, the UPFA’s defeat is louder than the victory of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) simply for the reason that the Sri Lankan voters have shattered Rajapaksa’s political dreams, perhaps, forever.

Nevertheless, Rajapaksa remains popular among the Sinhalese nationalists who give him credit for ending the 26-year long civil war. They are willing to overlook his authoritarian tendencies and the rampant corruption involving his family members during his reign (2005-14).

At the same, the ethnic minorities and liberal Sinhalese alike reject his divisive politics, illiberal policies and Sinhalese chauvinistic agenda.

Tasks ahead

An immediate task for the victorious UNFGG leadership is to get support of seven more members to reach the half way mark of 113 in the 225-member parliament. This may not be a difficult since some of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs loyal to President Sirisena could cross over to the ruling coalition. Or else, the President may utilise the opportunity to propose a unity government by including his own party and the smaller parties in parliament.

Despite his own party’s defeat, President Sirisena should be pleased with the electoral outcome. It is a great relief to him that he does not have to work with his political foe, Rajapaksa, to govern the country.

The cohabitation government with Wickremasinghe as Prime Minister tends to provide a greater continuity to the political reform process initiated in January 2015. Indeed the present mandate is not only for good governance but also for reforming the polity.

The President and Prime Minister share a commitment towards providing a corruption-free government and upholding a liberal ethos. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in April 2015, made a good beginning by slightly diluting Presidential powers and protecting independence of some of the state institutions that the former president used to undermine.

Despite his party’s defeat, President Sirisena would be pleased that he doesn’t have to work with Rajapaksa

The next task for the cohabitation government would be to enact the 20th Amendment to reform the electoral system. On this the government is likely to enjoy support across the political divide in Parliament. The question of abolishing the Executive Presidency may also become part of the government’s agenda, but the process may not begin soon.

Reaching out to the Tamils

However, the biggest challenge for the government is to address the issue of peace and reconciliation. The Sri Lankan Tamils, who overwhelmingly voted for President Sirisena earlier and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) now, expect the regime to take credible steps to implement their promises.

The TNA manifesto reflects the urgency and mounting disappointment among the Tamils of northeastern Sri Lanka. As part of reconciliation measures, the government has been urged to demilitarise the erstwhile war zone, return the land occupied by the military to civilians and release the political prisoners held in detention.

While the Rajapaksa regime chose to maintain a national security approach to these problems, the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe government has showed sensitivity and flexibility but not resolved them forthwith. In coming months the TNA-ruled Northern Provincial Council (NPC) is likely to mount pressure on the central government.

The government needs to pursue a structured peace process even while establishing accountability for human rights violations committed during the last phase of the civil war in 2009.

The TNA’s tough stand on these issues has increased the government’s difficulties. Its manifesto has emphasised a federal autonomy solution going beyond the framework of 13th Amendment and insisted on the merger of northern and eastern provinces into a single territorial unit.

During electioneering, both these demands evoked apprehension and opposition from the Sinhalese political class including the UPFA and UNFGG leaders. For them the unitary system is unalterable and federalism is still a dirty word-a step away from secession.

Further, the present government is keen to prevent any form of international investigation into the war crime allegations. Instead, it favours an internal mechanism.

The TNA remains opposed to the government’s stand. This disagreement does not augur well for consensual politics the present regime seeks to promote. It is important that the government engages the Sri Lankan Tamil leaders in a constructive manner.

Advantage India

Finally, the election results undoubtedly suit India’s foreign policy interests in South Asia. New Delhi was worried about China’s deepening influence in Sri Lanka under the Rajapaksa regime. Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe not only ended Colombo’s tilt towards Beijing but also restored its friendship with New Delhi.

India can expect a deepening of its friendship with Sri Lanka under the new regime.

The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the organisation.

CN

Disable Flash on your browser. Stop hesitating. Do it now.

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Recently I uninstalled Flash on both my Windows PC and my MacBook and I was amazed at how much it improved my online experience. Now PC World has gone ahead and run some tests to figure out just how much Flash is a drain on browser performance and has discovered disabling Flash can improve your browser’s performance by as much as 80%.

How bad is Flash for your browser? PC World found that with Microsoft Edge, having Flash enabled made the application consume 4.72 GB of memory and 84.1% of CPU cycles. Once Flash was disabled, those numbers went down to 4.12GB of memory and 24.5% of CPU cycles.

Things get even more dramatic with the Opera browser, which consumes 3.47 GB of memory and 81.2% of CPU cycles with Flash enabled and just 1.8GB of memory and 6% of CPU cycles with Flash disabled. Installing Flash onto Firefox, meanwhile, meant that “some tabs were unresponsive minutes after loading, and I had to manually check each tab to check on its progress,” which was completely different from how the browser behaved before installing the Flash plugin.

To read PC World’s full test results and to get full instructions for disabling Flash on each of the most popular browsers, be sure to click here. And if you want to just disable Flash entirely from your computer, be sure to check out our guide to uninstalling Flash on your PC or Mac.

But the bottom line is you should dump Flash. You will make the Internet a much better place for doing so and your web browsing experience will be vastly better.

BGR

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg World’s Richest Individual Under 35

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NEW YORK: Facebook Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is the wealthiest individual under the age of 35, with a personal fortune of $41.6 billion, says a Wealth-X report.

Zuckerberg is joined on the list by fellow Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, who claimed the second place on the list with an estimated net worth of $9.3 billion and Eduardo Saverin who was ranked fourth with an estimated net of $5.3 billion. The top-20 list features only six women.

Huiyan Yang, the 34-year-old Vice Chairman of Chinese real estate developer Country Garden Holdings, is the richest woman on the list, taking the third spot with an estimated net of $5.9 billion, as per Wealth-X, the global wealth intelligence and prospecting company. The top-10 wealthiest individuals under the age of 35 also include Scott Duncan at the fifth position with a wealth of $5 billion, Elizabeth A Holmes (6th, $4.5 billion), Nathan Blecharczyk (7th, $3 billion), Brian Chesky (8th, $3 billion), Joe Gebbia (9th, $3 billion) and Thomas Persson (10th, $2.7 billion).

As many as 11 of the world’s top 20 wealthiest individuals under the age of 35 are from the US, while three each are from China (including Hong Kong) and Switzerland. However, no Indian featured on the list.

The youngest individual on the list is Snapchat Chief Executive Evan Spiegel, who at the age of 25 has amassed a fortune of $1.9 billion. Wealth-X provides insight into the ultra-wealthy with the world’s largest collection of curated research on ultra high net worth individuals.

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